Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Wisconsin incomes behind the rest of the nation

I have blogged extensively about taxes and their relationship to Wisconsin incomes, some of the lowest in the country. Wisconsin’s ability to compete continues to decline
 as hard-working residents pay more and more of their income to the government.

More grim news from the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance (WISTAX) demonstrates that this gloomy pattern continues. WISTAX reports, “Wisconsin’s economy has been lagging the nation for some time. A simple indicator of state economic performance is personal income, which includes wages, government payments, and investment earnings. During 2006, total state income rose 5.4% to $191.7 billion, while national growth was 7.1%. Reflecting the economic slowdown, 2008 personal income is estimated to increase 3.4% in Wisconsin vs. 4.3% nationally."

Here is the WISTAX release. 

Next year, the governor and the Legislature will conduct their most important piece of state government business: crafting and adopting the next biennial budget. With Wisconsin incomes struggling to keep pace with the nation as a whole during rough times, it is imperative the state holds the line on spending and rejects any tax increase proposals.

Since when is it okay...

For teachers to talk about same-sex marriage and abortion to underage students in the guise of civic election education?

Wine consumers benefit from new Wisconsin law

News you can use

consumers will now have greater ease at purchasing wines under a new winery-to-consumer shipping law that went into effect October 1, 2008. The law will allow wineries to purchase permits for $100 and ship up to a dozen cases of wine per person per year.

Wisconsin had been one of only three reciprocal shipping states that had allowed only wineries in participating states to make shipments. When states converted to permits, Wisconsin consumers experienced difficulty finding wines under the old law. Now, all U.S. wineries will be eligible under Wisconsin’s permits. Consumers will no longer be limited to purchases from a handful of states as a winery in any state may ship wine directly to a Wisconsin resident once the winery has received a direct wine shipper permit from Wisconsin.

This is a common-sense, reasonable, pro-consumer law that complies with regulations while supporting Wisconsin’s own growing wine industry. One of the other provisions of the new law requires that all sales to retailers go through a wholesaler.

Here is a Wisconsin Legislative Council memo on Senate Bill 485 that was approved by the Legislature and signed into law during March 2008.

If you like to bike…

News you can use

Are you riding a bike more often because of the price of gasoline? You’re biking in the right place. The League of American Bicyclists ranks Wisconsin as the second best state in the country for biking.

To compile the rankings, the League examined quality roads, safety, use of available federal funding and policy favorable to cyclists. Wisconsin bikers also enjoy some of the nation’s finest outdoors, with pristine water, clean air, and fabulous scenery making, all making for a most pleasant ride.

Here is a guide to Wisconsin trails and a Wisconsin biking video.

Enjoy your ride!

Governor predicts $3 billion deficit

Governor Doyle says the state budget deficit could be as high as $3 billion in the 2009-11 state budget if the economy doesn’t turn around. Doyle spoke at a news conference this afternoon in Madison.

Doyle said tax collections are coming in at only 0.4 percent, with September tax collections down in every category: sales tax, income tax and corporate tax.

Doyle also said every area of state spending is on the table for possible cuts in the next state budget, and has ordered department heads to chop another 10 percent from their operating budgets.

My message has been consistent for some time that the state has been flirting with financial chaos by over-spending and over-taxing. A potential $3 billion deficit is proof that by refusing to engage in fiscally responsible budget-making, Wisconsin could face the most serious budget crisis in its history.

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